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Reflection

3 Dec

As I began this class, I believe that I was naive to think that media had little impact on my own thoughts and beliefs. I am constantly connected to media and the skewed reality it depicts. And after this class is finished, I can now say that I am educated enough to know that not everything I see in media is as real as it may seem- a big example of this being body image. I used to look at magazine articles and wonder how these women were so perfect, and this class helped me realize that no women is. I have gained a new perspective because of this class in the sense that I feel I have the power to allow what can and cannot impact me when I encounter any type of media. I also have a new perspective in that everyone truly is unique and Americans aren’t as cookie cutter as the tv and internet portray them to be.

This class has also taught me that it is important to step back and realize that everyone’s beliefs and upbringings may not be the same as mine, and although they may be different, they have the ability to bring something new to the table and can teach me something I never would have thought of otherwise. I think my favorite section of the class to learn about was how different men and women were depicted in advertisements. I did not realize the stereotypes these ads create in the young minds that view them and the negative impact they instill in their viewers. I think pro social media is vital in media to destroy these stereotypes and break down the standard image the world has ignorantly accepted.

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

24 Nov

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The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, created by Dove beauty products, was launched in 2004 and aims to widen the definition of beauty after a study found that the actual definition had become unattainable and limiting for modern day women. Unfortunately, according to the a Dove Campaign only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful worldwide. Dove intends to challenge stereotypes about beauty stereotypes by having commercials and advertisements with real women who have “real bodies and real curves”. Dove strives to educate and inspire girls and women about the deeper meaning of beauty and the many ways they can be beautiful that does not involve their outer appearance.

“Upward and downward: social comparison of thin idealized media images” by Tiggemann and Polivy found that after women were asked to read magazines and then compare themselves to the models depicted in the advertisements, their body dissatisfaction increases. This pressure to be thin and beautiful relates to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty as both describe how women’s confidence decreases when comparing themselves to models and actresses in the media. This article is applicable to their campaign as it just reinforces the issue that women are impacted in a more negative than positive way when viewing advertisements, and this impact needs to become more positive.

Personally, I believe in the Dove Campaign and the message they are trying to send their viewers. As I look through the magazines such as Elle or Cosmopolitan, I can’t help but compare myself to the way the models look in the magazines. As many women and girls do not realize that every single photo in the magazine is manipulate, it distorts their image of what true beauty is. I am an advocate for pro social media such as the Dove Campaign because it helps show that women are more than a clear face and a size 2 pair of jeans. If more advertisements displayed their models more “realistically” I believe more than 2% or women would describe themselves as beautiful.

Pat from Everybody Loves Raymond

28 Oct

For this blog, I chose to examine Raymond’s brother’s mother in law from Everybody Loves Raymond which plays on TBS. Whenever Pat and her husband Hank come into town, family dynamics always become complicated. As both Hank and Pat consider themselves as devoted Christians they try to live each day as pure as they can. Hank is an assistant principle and Pat is a stay at home mom. Each are ordinary people but in the series are depicted as stuck up, traditional and very conservative. Pat talks in a loving voice whenever she speaks, and is very soft spoken and kind when she has something to say.

One episode shows Raymond’s brother Robert catching Pat smoking a cigarette when he takes out the trash. As Robert wants his future mother in law to like him, he smokes one too but gets sick from doing so. Turns out, Pat has been smoking for 25 years and has been keeping it a secret from everyone, including her husband. Although this episode attempts to place Pat in a negative light as smoking is considered a sin in their household, the scene comes off as more comical than anything due to Pats innocence she portrays in every episode. Although Pat only appears in the series ever so often, her character resembles stereotypes than many people have with Christians. She believes she never does bad, criticizes and is passes judgement onto others.

Todd Rendleman describes in his article as Christians being depicted as “hypocrites” in multiple films and TV series. This does resemble the character of Pat as although she is considered a devoted Christian, she is found to have been lying for 25 years over her act of smoking and her judgmental tone towards actions she does not deem appropriate. Although Pat is always trying to do what’s best in the episodes, she steps on toes while doing so- such as refusing to go to a Catholic Church or killing a dying bird who flew into a window.

Desperate Housewives

17 Oct

In the show Desperate Housewives, class dynamics in the program are prevalent in every episode. On the street of Wisteria Lane, if you do not have as much money as your neighbors, they will know immediately. The main characters of the show, Bri, Lynette, Susan and Gabrielle are all very well off women- some due to the success of their husbands and some due to their own actions. As each character is well off, the show does well describing how different each character thinks of themselves and their success. The most successful characters are Bri and Gabrielle. Bri is married to a doctor and will always show up to your doorstep with fresh scones while Gabrille was a famous fashion model and doesn’t mind reminding you if you have forgotten. Lynette and Asian are more of the homebodies as Lynette stays at home to care for her five children while Susan, an illustrator, doesn’t believe that money will truly make you happy.

The residents of Wisteria Lane base their class position basically only on how much money they own. The producers show the cast driving nice cars, living in clean kept houses and have the girls go into detail about how difficult it was to find someone to hem their $4,000 Versace dress. They have their kids go to private schools, have lawn keepers and maids and are all involved in a country golf club. Although these neighbors may be spending top dollar in every aspect of their lives, the producers help show that no matter how much money one may have, their actions may still be poor.

When it comes to examining the class dynamics in the show Desperate Housewives, the character that stands out to me most is Gabrielle Solis. As she grew up in New York City as a model and frequently appeared on the covers of Elle and Vogue magazine, she quickly realizes that she is not like the rest upon moving to the lane. She fell in love with Carlos, saying that that was partly due to the fact that he paid for everything she could ever want. In the show she is always flaunting her expensive jewelry and clothes but once Carlos goes to jail and her stead rich lifestyle is gone, she is forced to appreciate the finer things in life. As Laura Portwood-Stacer states in “Consuming “Trash”: Representations of Poor Whites in U.S. Popular Culture states “people stereotypically viewed as white trash typically are alcoholics, drug users, sex workers victims of domestic violence and etc.”, yet on the show, many of the characters are performing these actions or are victims from them. Although these characters may have the same characteristics of those considered white teach, they are still considered superior and more respectable than others less wealthy. This leads to a concerning argument such as to why “white trash” characteristics are placed more on people with lower incomes while someone making more an hour wouldn’t necessarily be believed as such.

Everybody Hates Chris

15 Oct

Originally created by Chris Rock which depicted his own life as a boy growing up in the 1980s, “Everybody Hates Chris” is a show about Chris’ hardships which helped fuel his career as a comedian today. “Everybody Hates Chris” which is a predominately black casted television show describes the many struggles Chris went through that made him fight for the respect he deserved (as a teen and as a minority living in Brooklyn). As Chris is constantly ridiculed, harassed and living in the shadows of his siblings, he feels as if the world is against him and he just cannot win.

The character who stands out to me is the main character, Chris. He is a loving, kind hearted kid who seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although Chris has all of the properties any parent would be proud of, it appears that his parents do not appreciate his caring personality. As Chris tries to be liked by his classmates at school, he is always the butt of a joke or the one who is needlessly teased. Chris does mention his race and the stereotypes which relate to it in some episodes. He also mentions how his race hinders him and his ability to grow and gain respect, but ultimately is proud of his heritage and the person he is. I personally can relate to Chris because I was bullied myself when I was little. This bullying made me dislike and doubt myself and all the possibilities I had to offer to the world. Although I did not struggle as much as Chris about racial issues, I like any teen struggled with accepting myself and believing in my capabilities.

Chris’ best friend Greg happens to be Caucasian yet their friendship doesn’t notice a difference. Although Greg is as unpopular as Chris he is supportive of Chris and his plan to one day become a comedian. As Chris and his perspective seem to be the most prominent, Greg is good at being the “best friend best friend”. Greg in the show does appear to be sort of incompetent of relating to the race of his friend but is always more than willing to try to relate. In the show, Greg interacts with Chris like any best friend would. They tease and make fun of each other but at the end of the day Greg always has his back.

In Deggans “Race Baiters”, it discusses the fact that actors and actresses casted in primetime films and televisions shows are still predominately white, even though the United States is most well known for its wide variety of citizens. Although the show “Everybody Hates Chris” does not completely confirm the article, matters about race do relate to Chris’ character in her show. For example, Deggans mentions that this lack of minority’s in tv shows is due to white producers creating these shows. Although it is not true for every program, it is for Everybody Hates Chris, as the show would not have been created without its producer Chris Rock. I do believe that this issue is like he says ” a big button people refuse to touch” but I believe if producers start looking at the true mixing pot of America and applying their shows to it, their shows would be more realistic and therefore relatable.

Blog # 4- King of Queens

7 Oct

The King of Queens, which was a primetime program on CBS, displayed a working class couple living in Queens, New York who dealt with Carrie’s crazy father who happened to live in their basement. Doug works as a package delivery man and befriends his co-worker named Decan. Although the cast was predominately Caucasian, Doug and Carrie’s best friends and go to couple, Decan and his wife Kelly, were African-American. In the majority of the episodes, Decan and Kelly do not mention their race or use any stereotypes against them.

Some episodes however do display certain stereotypes unfortunately attached to the black community. For example in one episode, Doug and Decan are in a grocery store picking up photographs. Doug planned on taking another couples pictures to compare his life to theirs and further asked Decan to “make a distraction”. When asked to do so, Decan said he would go and “walk by the watches”. Although this was a comical situation depicted in the show, it supports the stereotype that African-Americans are thought to be more likely to shoplift than any other race in the grocery store that day.

Decan does mention his race periodically, yet always does so in a comedic tone. For example, when Decan and Doug are looking for Halloween costumes, Decan has trouble finding a “black character” for his son to dress up as. He finally finds a costume and states his son will just have to be the “black” power ranger.
One episode that stood out to me that depicted the differences in Doug and Decan’s relationship was portrayed in the episode where Decan found another friend who also happened to be African-American and starts to hang out with him more than with Doug. Doug begins to spy on the friendship and wonders why him and Decan cannot do the certain things that Decan and his new friend are doing, for example going to church and going shopping. Decan explains that his new friend fits “certain needs” that Doug cannot fill and understands him in a way that Doug cannot, due to his different race. Doug finds this hard to understand possibly because their differences become so apparent in this episode and Doug did not realize this difference before in their friendship.
The similarities and differences in Doug and Decan’s relationship go along with the theory by Monk-Turner in the “Portrayals of Race in Primetime TV”. His comparison of two different types of music “at first glance” appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, yet if you look closer, both music types are more similar than one might think as they both are “associated with working class roots and audiences”. This analogy goes along great with the friendship between Decan and Doug, because although they may look like they wouldn’t be friends, their similarities outweigh their differences and because of this they are able to overcome obstacles that may possibly challenge their relationship.

Blog #3- Mike & Molly

24 Sep

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Out of the five major broadcast networks I selected Mike & Molly as the primetime program for this blog. Mike and Molly initially meet at an overeaters anonymous class in Chicago and from there fall in love and eventually get married. Once Mike and Molly get hitched, they live with her sister and mother who are both very blunt and outgoing. Molly’s sister, Veronica, is a happy go lucky single who jumps from job to job and is notorious for smoking weed. She also says what’s in her mind whenever she talks and rarely uses a filter when it comes to her personal opinions. Molly’s mom is similar to Veronica but is more blunt as she tells it how it is, as is Mike’s mother. Mike and Molly struggle to get their own place as Molly quits her job as a teacher to become a writer, which causes financial troubles though out their relationship. Through the struggles of Mike’s stressful position as a police officer and Molly’s incline in debt due to a slight shopping addiction, the couple somehow always finds a way to fix their daily issues to become even stronger in the long run.

For me, a character in Mike & Molly that stands out to me is Molly Flynn. Although Mike and Molly are known as the notorious overweight couple on primetime, Molly is known on the show to overcome any struggles or stereotyping she faces in such a loud, demanding city. In a time where appearance and body image is under a microscope, it is refreshing to see such a lovely character such as Molly who shows that you do not need to fit the molds of our society to follow your dreams or to try to be something in this world. Her love for her family and her ability to follow her passion to become an author display how much more there is to Molly’s character than her outside appearance.

In Tiggemann’s (2010) article “Upward and downward: social comparison processing of thin idealized media images”, it is discussed that those who experience watching or seeing media that involves skinny, thin individuals are more likely to increase their dissatisfactions with their own bodies. As I personally agree that when I watch a movie or see an add that involves a women skinnier than me, I am more likely to compare myself to them and become somewhat self conscious of my own body. Although this is believed to be said from many individuals that media challenges their own personal self image, I do not believe a show like Mike & Molly do so. And this is not just because they are more overweight than some of the viewers watching their show, but I believe they are more relatable to much of America, as they display their triumphs and struggles are are relatable to many of us.

Seventeen magazine considered controversial?

15 Sep

Seventeen magazine first issued in the fall of 1944 and since then had been read by millions of American teenagers. With Seventeen’s reader base being from the young age of 12 to 19, this company has a big responsibility in setting the social norm within their insecure teens always trying to fit in. The initial editor of Seventeen, Halen Valentine, believed that the magazine would help young girls “gain self respect” and from this magazine they would gain the ability to make a name for themselves in the world. Yet as titles on the cover include “Get your best butt” and “896 ways to looks pretty” it may be possible that setting such high ideologies and expectations in young girls may hinder their own self confidence.

All of the girls on the cover of Seventeen appear to be flawless. Each individual has long hair, white, straight teeth, clear skin, and a thin frame. They are all smiling or laughing and look to have a happy go lucky mentality. Additionally, most of the women on the cover are well known models, actresses or singers- not girls that are categorized as a “girl next door”. As Seventeen magazine states to have a message of self acceptance, I can see how it could be difficult for a teen going through the difficulties of puberty to accept themselves when comparing themselves to the unblemished girl on the cover.

When comparing the models on the cover to the video watched in class which discussed differences of gender in media, I could see many similarities that were talked about in the film. For example, many of the girls were either touching their hair or their face and were standing in poses deemed un empowered. Also, girls on the cover were wearing belly shirts, cut offs, and some were even in bikinis, which plays with the idea discussed in the film that women appear to wear clothes that show more than guys. Honestly when reading Oliver, Banjo and Kim, I did not realize the “importance of sexuality in advertising” meaning until looking at how some of these girls body languages portrayed something more than just “gaining self confidence”.

Blog #1 Emily Loring

3 Sep

In today’s society, ones accessibility to media is close to endless. Although we may not realize that from the morning we wake up to when we close our eyes at night, media impacts our lives and may have more control over our attitudes and behaviors than we think. Looking at the relationship between the media and ideology, it is easy for me to believe that the ideas or views spread through media impact our cultures ideology. When we are constantly encountering media that says how one should look, act, think, etc., we begin to believe those ideas to be true too. Like discussed in class, as media constantly repeats its messages to America, trends start to take for as these ideas are seen as ‘trendy’ or ‘in’.

As discussed in the article by Kinefuchi, E. & Orbe, M.P. (2008), the relationship between media in the form of the movie “Crash” and the viewers impact their ideology on race is examined. Many participants stated that they did not realize how the media has such an impact on their personal views of race. Although this action may seem subconscious, many movies assign characters to have characteristics that resemble specific races. For example, in the movie the characters that are considered robbers are African-American, while the police officer is white. Although the reasoning why it was agreed upon that those specific races would be assigned to those roles may be unknown, these stereotypes stay with us long after the movie is over. As many movies, tv shows, and radios stations we expose ourselves to, we are constantly shaped by the media and the ideologies they imprint on us.